Monday, November 30, 2015

Our Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2015 was one of the best! It was full of family, food, and lots of fun. I think we all loved everything about it. I've said this several times before I know, but living here is just the best. We don't have to travel or pack or live out of a suitcase or spend the night away from home. We just get to be with family and enjoy the holiday without all the other stress. It. Is. Wonderful.

Every other year Terrell's sister and her family come down for Thanksgiving so we spend the first half of the day with Terrell's side of the fam and the second half of the day with my side. It's a really full day but works out perfect. We kicked off the day with a family picture bright and early before heading across town to Nana and Pops' house.

We arrived early and watched the parade while the cousins spent lots of time in the playroom making messes and drawing pictures to decorate for Thanksgiving. =)

The fab 5 also made a fun and easy dessert... pilgrim hats out of fudge striped cookies, reeses peanut butter cups, orange frosting, and m & m's. Layton ate a cookie and observed while everyone else worked. They turned out super cute and were a really fun little project for them while we waited for lunch time to arrive.

We had a huge, delicious feast and then baby boy #3 crashed. He was so tired and ill and fussy that Terrell took him upstairs to try to calm him down... and when I went to check on them a few minutes later, they were both passed out. Haha! My biggest and my littlest. =) *It should be noted that our entire household had a rough night Thanksgiving Eve... absolutely nobody slept well. Ugh.

We had a super fun Thanksgiving with Nana and Pops, Granny, Kara, Denny, Allison, and Shannon. We ate good, we laughed a lot, and we played hard. It was a GREAT first half to our Thanksgiving Day.

My parents host Thanksgiving at their house every year for both my mom's side of the family and my dad's side of the family. It's a special tradition that includes TONS of food, a noisy house, lots of family, and almost constant laughter. They host a late lunch in which everybody is present and then as some families leave later in the afternoon, others hang around for supper, and even a few others show up to visit. We arrived as everyone was finishing their late lunch and took our first family picture since Baby Girl's arrival. =)

Granna and Papa in their first photo with all 4 grands!

Once half of the families left for the day, my boys were ready to head home to change into play clothes and spend the rest of the day outside with their cousins and other family members. It seriously was the most fun day for them. 

Front yard football, soccer, and anything else they could come up with. =)

We had a great afternoon catching up with everybody and enjoying the nice weather and just being together with family. It was just a really great day start to finish. Soaking up our blessings with our favorite people was the best.

Sometime after 4:00 Layton Selph was ready to pass out again so we partook of the massive feast before us and made ourselves an early supper. Yum-O! It was soooo good! We called it a night early and got our babies home, in the bath, and in the bed before 7:30. We were all pooped from our day full of family and fun! And of course the best food ever. =)

This Thanksgiving was a full one. We woke up early and started the holiday right away. We spent time with over 20 different family members. We played all day long with breaks only to eat the best, most delicious food and desserts. We talked. We laughed. We counted our blessings. 

God has been so good to our family and we give Him the glory. From our newest member to our close knit families to celebrating another holiday with all of my boys' great-grandparents present. We have so, so much to be thankful for. 

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Highlights of Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving Break is one of my favorites of the year because of the fun we have as a family as we kick off the holiday season and prepare to celebrate with everyone we love most. Such a great week of down time but also busyness and fun. So I thought I'd share some of the highlights from our week so far. 

Our break started for us on Friday as soon as Austin got home from school. My little pilgrim came in happy and hungry. Haha. He's having a great experience with preschool and enjoying it lots just like we knew he would. We haven't made any final decisions for next year but we love the preschool setting for PreK so that's what we're leaning towards. 

The break continued right along after picking Garrison up from school. And he came home with a story about having something different for Thanksgiving other than turkey.... he decided on cookie cake. Oh gracious. That one and his sweet tooth. Ha!

Friday night Terrell had a work event to go to that originally I was going to attend with him but at the last minute we decided against so that I could go to Austin's soccer banquet and so that Layton wouldn't have to spend the night away from home. The banquet was fun but also wild and crazy. Haha. Thankfully my mother-in-law was able to meet me there so I wasn't outnumbered 3-1. Phew! That would've been tough. After the banquet she took the big boys to her house to spend the night and Layton and I came home... where he went straight to bed and I had a lazy evening all to myself. =)

My mom kept Layton for us Saturday so we could have a shopping date and the big boys spent the day with Nana and Pops before going to see their cousin Allison in a Peter Pan play. She was a lost boy. =) They were so proud!

Sunday night we watched our first Christmas movie of the season together... Elf!! Layton saw a little of it before his bedtime but the big boys were able to watch the whole thing and loved it. We did too. =) It was a fun way to start off the break and do something different and special on a school night that wasn't a school night!

Monday we attempted decorating the big boys' Christmas tree for their room. Unfortunately all of their ornaments are mixed with all the ornaments for our big tree so we haven't been able to finish yet. (New system to correct that coming this year...) But they loved getting a start on it. 

In the past their tree has always had a theme. Like sports, or transportation or "baby" for their 1st Christmas... but now it looks like it's just turning into a "boy" tree. And I'm okay with that. I've been attached to the themes in the past but I'm kind of loving the new version of everything from sports to transportation to superheroes to anything boy. It just fits. =)

Terrell and I finally managed to get the mantle and fireplace area decorated. YAY!! This is one of my favorite spots in the house during the Christmas season. One day I'm hoping my mantle decor will be a little more elaborate, but for now it's perfect. I will say however, the downside to decorating a little at a time like we do is that you feel like your house is a messy disaster for however long you're decorating. A week plus for sure. That's the only downside I've found though. For us, this works so we'll keep this system for a while I hope. 

By day....

By night.... Ahhhhhhh. =)

This week I've been in a mad dash to finish this book! It's really good but of course all 3 books I requested from the library came at once so I'm reading at record speeds. Haha. 

We've had our first frost of the season this week! I took this picture standing inside my front door because brrrrrrr! It was so pretty though. The boys and I had to be out early so they loved seeing everyone's yards covered in frost.  

We had to be out early to drop off Bailey at the groomer's and then make our way to the pediatrician's office. The big boys got the flu mist and Layton had to have 2 shots. Thankfully we were in and out pretty fast. 

Also, today is mine and Terrell's original anniversary. 16 years ago today we became us. =) I've been reminiscing a lot this week and remembering how God brought us together and what those first few days and weeks were like. They were all pretty much centered around the holidays and time with family and fun. And of course young love. We wanted to spend every waking moment together and hated saying goodbye and talked more on our cordless phones than is probably normal. Haha! It's crazy that it's been 16 years but also such a testimony of God's grace and goodness in our lives. This week as I've reminisced I've been reminded not to take our life and our love story and my amazing husband for granted. He is God's gift to me and I love him even more today than all those years ago. Which is some serious love because I loved him a LOT back then. =) It's been fun remembering the early days and God's faithfulness to us as we suffered through the long distance thing in college and then as we stressed over the right time to get married and then as we started this journey together of us as a family. I am so thankful for November 24, 1999. It's been a fun, exciting, wonderful, hard, crazy, stressful, joyful, amazing 16 years. 

Thanksgiving week sure is special and I sure am thankful. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Break is Here!

This week started a little rough but thankfully things got better and better and now we are sooo excited to welcome Friday and the start to our Thanksgiving Break! Woooohoooo!!

Here's a look at my favorites from the week...

*Layton Selph kicked off Monday morning by reading at the table while I took care of some things in the kitchen. Win-win!

*After helping me out with some laundry, he confiscated the laundry basket and took his reading else where. Haha! So thankful all my boys love books!

*Austin was able to go on a field trip on Monday morning to a nursing home to sing Thanksgiving songs. Terrell met his class there to watch and sent me pictures and videos. So sweet!!

*So the week started off a little not so great. Terrell and I have some pretty big decisions to make coming up and we got some disappointing news and I let myself get stressed out and it just turned out to be a tough Monday. Ugh. Garrison was very concerned about me after I spent the majority of the afternoon on the phone and upset and just stressing. So my little encourager made me the sweetest card. Austin made one too but his was lost soon after it was given to me, haha. 

This card cheered me up so much! I love how his oh yes it is got bigger and bigger. Ha! Garrison can be a little challenging from time to time. He questions almost everything.... as in struggles with talking back. He can have a short temper. He has a hard time with self control when he's wound up or playing hard. And he's pretty Type A... which can come with both some good and not so good qualities. But despite his "weaknesses" he has the BIGGEST heart. He is always so conscientious and he just loves fiercely. I'm so thankful for my little encourager and his love language of giving gifts in the form of sweet cards for his mama. Thank you Jesus for his sweet, sincere, BIG heart. 

*Family Game Night had to be moved to the living room because the Hawks were about to come on. Haha. We got in 2 games before watching the first few minutes of the game together. =)

*First Christmas pjs of the season for my littlest! Love footie pajamas!!

*Austin was able to take a special trip to the Georgia Aquarium with one of his cousins this week. I think it's safe to say they had a great time. AND, he even brought Garrison home a cute stuffed animal from the gift shop. Can you say love language? =) Garrison was thrilled.

*Two out of three enjoying our favorite Christmas decoration. Can't wait to get all our decorating done!

*An early game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with Austin while Layton had breakfast.

*Our audience of 1 who loved his breakfast entertainment. Until he finished breakfast and demanded to get down and not be left out. Ha!

*Baby Girl came for a visit yesterday morning and Layton was super excited to see her. He loves his baby cousin and is totally fascinated with her. 

*At this time I think it's obvious Piper doesn't feel the same way. Hahaha! Sad but true. She probably fears for her safety when my boys are around. Bless it.

*Naptime! Be still my heart.

*The 1st graders put on a little Thanksgiving performance last night at our Fine Arts Center that was adorable! And my 1st grader was oh so cute! And grown-up! And handsome! And wonderful! =)

*We weren't able to get any pictures of the actual program because they were on a big stage under lots of bright lights and the pictures just didn't turn out... so we managed a family pic afterwards. =) We were so proud of our 1st grader!

*Since we did bath time before the program we were able to come straight home and get in pjs after going out to eat. First time in matching Christmas pjs calls for a picture!! And we had one who had the giggles and kept trying to escape, one who was beyond tired and not thrilled about having to take a picture, and one who was just Mr. Photogenic as always. Haha!

*We have a sort of crazy weekend coming up but we're looking forward to Austin's soccer banquet tonight, a shopping date for me and Terrell tomorrow, and lots more decorating this weekend. So THANKFUL for the blessing of family, a week off from school, and the upcoming holiday! Happy Friday and Happy Thanksgiving Break!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holiday Musings

*So we've started some Christmas decorating around here!! And now I can hardly wait to finish up and have my tree up and Christmas lights everywhere and experience all things Christmas in our new house! While I'm not one to skip over Thanksgiving or neglect turkey day at all, I have noticed after years and years of waiting until after Thanksgiving to pull everything out for Christmas that I like decorating early and a little at a time. It's easier on me and I'm not as worn out or stressed out trying to get it all done at once. Plus I love having Christmas up for as long as possible. So slowly but surely we're getting things out. Our living room tree definitely won't be up and ready until after Thanksgiving but hopefully the majority of the house will be just about done before we celebrate around the table with lots of food, family, and counting of blessings. =) 

*We've also put in our Christmas card order to our favorite most wonderful graphic designer, Megan. She does the BEST work and we're super excited to send out this year's card. Megan also did our Fall family pictures for us so she is multi-talented. =) (I can't wait to share pics!!) I know Christmas cards can sometimes get a bad rap because of "showcasing" your family or trying to send out the perfect picture even though life is far from perfect or even spending too much on outfits, photography sessions, and the cards themselves. (No worries about cost when Terrell Selph is involved because he will make sure our spending is as low as possible, haha.) But personally, I love sending out cards and I love receiving them in the mail. I send them out because I really want to and enjoy it so much. I want friends and family to know we're thinking of them and I want them to have an updated picture of my family. Especially out of town family and old friends from Covington. I think everybody knows our life is often chaotic and adventure filled and far, far from perfect! Ha! Christmas cards are a fun tradition for us and it's something we enjoy doing year after year. So hopefully nobody is offended by ours. =)

*I mentioned last week or the week before that we're in the process of finalizing Christmas lists. Both ours and the boys. The way we do Christmas gifts for the kiddos is that Santa leaves unwrapped gifts out for them to find Christmas morning and then they get a couple of wrapped gifts from us. Plus they each have a stocking. Wellll, this year we're attempting to do a little less for the boys in terms of Santa gifts. (I feel like we say that every year, haha.) Hope the boys aren't scarred or disappointed! They just get SO much at Christmas anyway that it's hard to justify getting them tons from Santa just for the sake of them, well, getting tons from Santa. I think Terrell and I both are a little attached to our own childhood memories of Christmas mornings and seeing lots of toys and presents waiting for us. So we want that for our kids. But in reality we end up giving them stuff just because we want them to have a lot... which isn't good for the wallet, toy space, or our boys truly appreciating all they have. Honestly, even though we're self conscious about it, I think we've realized that we actually are giving them similar experiences to our own and they are definitely getting plenty.

This is such a first world problem. Sigh. I mean things are tight for us this Christmas but we still have the option of giving our kiddos lots from their wish lists. We just want to tone down a little on Santa and still get them 2 or 3 things each from us. I really like the way Andrea at Momfessionals does Santa and gifts for her kids so that's kind of what we're shooting for this year. We don't have a "big" gift for every kid but we do have a couple of things that will be out from Santa plus 2 or 3 things that will be wrapped from us.   

*Now when it comes to shopping we try to do as much as possible online. It's just easier, faster, and more convenient. However, for those items that we need to buy in person, we take care of those whenever possible. Terrell goes shopping on his lunch breaks sometimes. (I love him. =)) Sometimes I make a nap time run on the weekends. Sometimes I'm desperate and take my children with me shopping. Sometimes we have the grandparents baby-sit. (We really try to limit this one to just once because all of the grandparents work full time and have shopping to do themselves.) And this year we may take advantage of a fundraiser our Children's Program at church is doing and drop off the kiddos for a morning. For the most part, online shopping is our definite preference. We are slowly but surely making progress on our gift buying. We're planning a little shopping trip this weekend and are ordering things online almost daily. We aren't finishing as soon as I would like but we're making good progress!

*Thanksgiving Break is coming up for us next week and other than a dentist appointment for me and Garrison, my plans with kiddos before Thanksgiving Day mainly includes getting their trees up in their rooms. =) This is one of their favorite traditions. They LOVE decorating a Christmas tree (and stress me out each year when they help with the big family tree) but they love having their Christmas tree on every night at bedtime even more. It just puts us all in the Christmas spirit and makes us enjoy the season even more. 

On Thursday we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with both of our families. It's a really full day but also such a blessing. We are always so thankful we can see both sides of the family on holidays and that our kids get to see both sets of grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and great grandparents. Then on Thursday or Friday afternoon depending on weather and other factors, we'll go pick out our Christmas tree with my parents. Another favorite tradition! And the weekend will be spent decorating the tree and finalizing touches on the house. We are sooo looking forward to our Thanksgiving Break, extra time with family, and preparing for Advent. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Weekend Fun

We had a super fun weekend this weekend! We had a lazy, laid back Friday night which I neglected to get any pictures of because I think I'm just too tired by Friday night for pictures, ha, then we had an eventful Saturday.... Garrison's last soccer game, a super fun birthday party for my big boys, Operation Christmas Child shoebox shopping, and dinner out as a family. Always an adventure. Sunday was another full day for us and we wrapped up our weekend with football watching and counting down to Thanksgiving. It was a good one. 

Saturday morning was COLD. We bundled up and prepared to watch our biggest play in his last game of the season. Thankfully the sun was shining bright and between adrenaline and jumping up and down and yelling for our team, we managed to stay warm. =)

(Austin declined a selfie so Layton did double duty)

Garrison was on offense the first half of the game and it was impossible to get a good picture of him via iPhone. He was moving way too fast or there was always somebody in the way and blocking our view of him. But mainly it was just too fast paced. So we had to settle for pictures of him as goalie during the 2nd half. He's played goalie one half of every single game this season. It's never been his favorite but he always does amazing and was the right man for the job. =)

We were down 2-0 at halftime and sparked a major comeback after my baby set up more than one goal for his teammates via punt and goal kick. We were ecstatic and our fans pretty much went crazy!! We scored 5 goals in the 2nd half and held them to 0! We won our 2nd game of the season and were soo excited!! 

Talk about a fun way to end the season! Our overall record ended up being 2-6-1. We were so proud of our team and our sideline pretty much went wild. Haha! Even though we were the underdog in every single game but our first one, our team played hard and had fun every game. We loved both boys' soccer seasons.   

After soccer and lunch, the big boys and I headed to a birthday party at another gymnastics place. They had soooo much fun! It was totally open ended so they were free to run around and basically do whatever they wanted. One of the main highlights for Garrison was having a gymnast do flips over him and some friends. He's on the end in green.  

I was super impressed. But also held my breath. Haha.

They had a great time at the party and thankfully we were drama free sneaking out a little early since Terrell and Layton were waiting on us at home. While we were at the party and Layton napped, Terrell's dad came over so they could discuss the possible location of our little playground we bought 2 or 3 Christmases ago. The good news is we think we have a plan now, the bad news is it's a long shot to pull off by Christmas. But no worries since we have 2 February birthdays!

After a quick bath for the big boys we loaded up the fam and got ready to go shoe box shopping, out to eat, and shopping for Garrison's upcoming 1st grade performance. 

It was an adventure to be sure, but we had a good time together. Only 1 child got a case of the gimmies as we strolled through Walmart. But we stayed true to our mission and only bought for the little boys who would receive our boxes. 

Sunday morning was a madhouse around here. (Just keeping it real) But we got our boxes stuffed and prayed over them and the little boys who would receive them. Austin even asked me last night, "Did the boys get their boxes?". So sweet. They want to know every detail and are thrilled about these boys they don't even know receiving their boxes of goodies. (One of the sweetest experiences ever with Operation Christmas Child was Garrison's first. Family members might want to read it again. =))

Sunday afternoon I made another quick shopping trip while my guys stayed home and napped and rested. Whew. There's a reason I prefer shopping on week day mornings. Or online. Gracious. It was craziness. As soon as I got home my babies were outside playing and having fun with daddy. My littlest was thrilled to see me. =) He ran across the whole back yard. Maaaamaaa! Maaaamaaa! Mama!!

My bigs were too involved in their soccer game. Ha. 

They played the rest of the afternoon before we got them inside and ready for supper and baths. Then before bed Garrison made this sweet, precious heart shaped card for his teacher. He asked me to cut out the heart for him and then he came up with everything else totally on his own. 

We LOVE his teacher because Garrison loves her so much!!

It was a really fun weekend! This week we're slowly but surely putting away Fall and pulling out Christmas. We've had a bit of a rough start to the week but hope the Christmas spirit really sinks in for us and that we enjoy this week before the break to the fullest. Happy Tuesday!